May 9, 2010 in Nation/World

NYC ferry slams into dock

Mechanical failure suspected in crash
Dennis Waszak And Cristian Salazar Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Emergency personnel transport a victim to an ambulance at the Staten Island Ferry terminal in New York on Saturday after a ferry boat crashed into the dock.
(Full-size photo)

NEW YORK – A Staten Island ferry with a history of accidents malfunctioned as it approached its terminal Saturday and smashed into a pier with a jolt that tossed passengers to the deck and hurt as many as 37 people.

The accident happened at 9:20 a.m. as the Andrew J. Barberi arrived at the St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island, carrying 252 passengers and 18 crew.

The accident appeared to be the result of a mechanical failure, New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan said.

The ferry’s throttle failed to engage as it prepared to dock, she said, meaning the crew was unable to use the engines to apply reverse thrust and slow down.

Coast Guard officials said the ferry suffered serious damage to its ramps and gouges in the decks above the waterline.

Fire Department spokesman James Long said 37 passengers were treated. He said 35 were taken to hospitals. Of those, 34 were treated and released.

The Andrew J. Barberi was also involved in a 2003 wreck that killed 11 people. That accident occurred when the pilot, suffering from extreme fatigue and on painkillers, passed out at the wheel and the boat hit the terminal in St. George at full speed.

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